Wrangling and Managing a Personal Learning Network


flickr photo shared by Mathias.Pastwa under a Creative Commons ( BY-ND ) license

Note: This post is an extended reflection from the EdTech Team’s Teacher Leader Certification Program. I am participating in the initial cohort.

Organizing a PLN is a kind of continual chase. I try just about everything if I have heard of it. I am always investigating tools to see what they do, if I will like them, how they might make things easier or a better experience.

If I just focus on Twitter, there is a constellation of Twitter apps that I tend to use. I like Tweetdeck for certain kinds of tasks. For instance, if I am at an event and live tweeting Tweetdeck is definitely a tool of choice. I like to keep those streams flowing fast.

Sometimes, I may even have a separate tab open with a single Twitter open if I want to track something like a separate tag or person and keep the flow slow and manageable. It all kind of depends on the need or specific use.

I also like to occasionally use Storify to assemble streams of tweets for a specific event in a more formal, presentational way, whether I am physically present at an event or not.

For managing multiple accounts, something  I do lot less than I once did, I like HootSuite more. I also like to keep fewer streams moving slower in HootSuite. It just seems to work best that way. I particularly like the AutoScheduling feature and wish I used it more. Yet, I tend to use the constellation of Twitter tools more on the hoof. So I don’t spend an immense amount of time strategically planning a lot of tweets, although I have tinkered about with it occasionally.

Yet, I tend to use Twitter and associated tools more on the hoof. So I don’t spend an immense amount of time strategically planning a lot of tweets, although I have tinkered about with it occasionally.

I have used Buffer to schedule tweets too but have never latched onto it with the same interest as some of these other tools mentioned.

I have been using Pocket for a couple of years now and like it. I tend to use it most in conjunction with Twitter. I have to admit though that I do not go back to a lot of things I mark in Pocket as much as I ever thought I would. Instead, it becomes a bit like a filtered database of material that I might search, a bit like Diigo or Delicious. I still use those too.

I will also mention Itsy. It is a downloadable Twitter app that runs locally and is visually very simple and clean. I like the look of it more than anything. Sometimes, I will keep it open along the left side of my desktop, alongside other windows I have open and doing other things. It blends in nicely and allows me to monitor Twitter loosely without it being quite as distracting.

Actually, I like to use different tools for different purposes. I tend to favor a set of simpler tools that do one or two things elegantly over a single one that tries to do everything. Plus, I periodically tinker around with a handful of recipes in IFTT tweaking how I track, collect, and share resources. It is a never ending process, for me. I try to take time to just play occasionally.

Periodically, I tinker around with a handful of recipes in IFTT, tweaking how I track, collect, and share resources. For example, if I save something to Pocket I automatically tweet it. Messing about with PLN organization and using a tool loke IFTT is a never ending process, for me. I try to make time to just play occasionally.

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